Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love


We have a wonderful side porch at our home - surrounded by trees and bushes - with enough light coming in to make it a very pleasant place to sit.  Every morning, when it is warm enough, which hasn’t happened a lot this year, my  husband and I go out and sit on the porch and drink our coffee and eat our breakfast.  It is a great way to start the morning. 
Our outside cat joins us on the porch because he knows that if he hangs around my husband will give him the leftover milk in his cereal bowl!  What a treat and while I know all those experts tell you not to give milk to cats, he is old and he enjoys it and I figure when a cat moves into old age he can have whatever he wants!
My husband has always liked bird feeders.  Whenever we have lived somewhere that it is feasible he has found locations to hang his bird feeders and has religiously keep the feeders full of the types of food the birds particularly enjoy.  However that has brought up the great bird feeder conundrum.
So what, you ask, is the great bird feeder conundrum?  Well it seems that in the bird feeding world there is great controversy over whether you should feed birds in the summer.  It makes sense to feed the birds in the winter especially when the ground is frozen or there is snow about and the birds have a problem finding food.  But then, the birding world experts say, you should not feed the birds in the summer when the birds have a plethora of natural food to eat and they can fend for themselves.  Makes sense……
However the conundrum comes into play when I think about why I feed the birds in the first place.  And I have to admit I feed the birds not so much for the motivation of helping the birds but because I like to watch the birds and see how many and what kind of birds travel by and eat from the feeder.  The motivation I realize is totally selfish - and while I guess the birds benefit it is really for me and my husband who I admit enjoys keeping the feeders full more than actually watching the birds!
We even develop this kind of relationship with birds who regularly come by the feeder.  We have watched this cardinal couple all spring as they have come to the feeder - and I figured there must be little cardinals somewhere who needed fed as one morning mamma cardinal actually ran off some other birds so she could get some food from the feeder!  And sure enough just a couple days ago we saw a little miniature cardinal hopping around with mamma watching closely…  
And for those who are worried about Mr  Outside Cat and all these birds, he's old and he could care less there are birds flying and hopping around!
So what do I do now?  The bird experts tell me to take the feeder down during the summer and I know if I do that, I will no longer be able to spend my mornings watching as birds fly in and out and enjoying the food they find there.  Do I ignore the experts who tell me I should do what was best for the birds and do what I want so I will be happy birdwatching?
I, of course, did what any self respecting person of the 21st century does, I decided to google the opinions on summer bird feeding.  Of course there were numerous articles cause you know when you google something there is like 1000 results on just about anything you may want to find…..  And I found a lot of articles and opinions on whether to take down the feeders or not fill them up (amazing how many opinions there were on that!) during the summer and why it was advised to not feed birds in the summer.  
But!  I found a couple articles that told me it was fine to feed the birds all summer and that it would be fine and it doesn’t hurt the birds and that is all I needed to hear!  There was the information I wanted so I could do what I wanted to do!  Bam!
Unfortunately we do the same thing with God and with our understanding of our relationship with God and with the church.  Instead of doing what we should, which is studying and learning and hearing God’s word in the context it is given and really working and praying to hear what God wants us to hear; because that is often hard for us and not what we want or the way we want it or it makes us think differently and have to adapt our ways to God….
No we want God to conform to us and not to inconvenience us too much so we search around the scripture - or even google it - until we find a verse somewhere we can lift out of context and vindicate ourselves and the way we act and the way we think.  
But God is not someone with whom we can manipulate into the image we want.  God is God and we need to remember we are the creation and not the creator and God is not there so we can do and think and live however we want - but God is there to teach us and show us and instruct us in the ways we can make a difference in this world; even it it is hard or inconvenient or transforming.